Ecological research
    Seite teilen

    Assessing the dynamics in rural landscapes using remote sensing data: the base for understanding red kite foraging patterns

    General Outline

    The Swiss population of red kites, a large raptor species, has been increasing over the last 30 years, and its distribution range in Switzerland has considerably expanded. In the same period, populations in surrounding countries have remained stable or have even declined. Red kites are opportunistic scavengers focussing their foraging on unpredictable food sources occurring simultaneously with agricultural management events, such as voles and earthworms surfacing during manuring. Therefore, red kites select for heterogeneous landscapes with high agricultural dynamics. To reliably quantify agricultural dynamics on a high temporal and spatial resolution over a large geographical range is necessary to understand movement trajectories of red kites. This thesis aims at combining open-access satellite imagery of different spatial and temporal scales to develop a landscape model identifying agricultural events.


    State of the art remote sensing approaches will be used to analyse time series of satellite imagery. Resulting models will be validated by ground control points collected in comprehensive field surveys and will then be used to analyse foraging patterns of adult red kites based on GPS telemetry data. Resource selection functions serve to analyse selection of red kite foraging habitats according to landscape dynamics. The study area is located in the canton of Freiburg, Switzerland. Accommodation during field work is provided in Schmitten between Bern and Freiburg .


    Interests in remote sensing and spatial ecology, preferably some knowledge about handling of geographical data and data analysis in R, driving license, enjoying field work and to work in a research team. This master project should be started not later than February 2018.


    Schweizerische Vogelwarte
    Dr. Martin Grüebler
    6204 Sempach
    Tel: ++41 41 462 97 22